By Bill Wine
KYW Newsradio 1060
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — If anyone asks: they’re the exceeding-expectations entertainment, and we’re the pleasantly surprised August audience.
We’re the Millers is a pot-smuggling comedy that sounds like a bottom feeder but smuggles a decent number of laughs across the border.
Jason Sudeikis plays David Clark, a small-time, no-strings-attached pot dealer in Denver with an upper-middle-class clientele and principles about his casual clients: specifically, no kids.
When local thugs rob him of his cash and his stash, he finds himself at the mercy of a wealthy client whom he owes (played by Ed Helms) to pick up a shipment of marijuana in Mexico and bring it across the border.
Worried that he will look suspicious on his own and thus invite trouble getting through customs, he hires a stripper (played by Jennifer Aniston), a sullen runaway tween (played by Emma Roberts), and an awkward latchkey teen (played by Will Poulter) to comprise a fake family, hop in their RV, and move smoothly across the border during the Fourth of July weekend.
But what the makeshift Millers discover is that the shipment of weed that they are delivering was taken from a powerful Mexican drug lord.
Director Rawson Marshall Thurber (Dodgeball: A True Underdog Story, The Mysteries of Pittsburgh) lets his leads loose and they deliver in spots, as does the film, which hits more than it misses.
And the scenes that click produce a gaggle of hilarious moments.
Sudeikis, who has been comedically invaluable on TV’s “Saturday Night Live” for years and probably had his showiest film role in the hilarious Horrible Bosses, is teamed with Aniston, who was also in Horrible Bosses and whom we have long since settled into taking for granted, and together they display the sharp comic timing that both have been blessed with.
The committee-concocted and long-in-development screenplay by Bob Fisher, Steve Faber, Sean Anders, and John Morris, sporting a premise perhaps made more viable by the recent change in temperature in the marijuana-legalization debate, takes a backdoor approach to its family-values theme, but the late-in-the-day heartstring tugs seem forced and insincere.
The script is far better off when it’s setting up and driving home what’s funny rather than justifying its politically correct existence.
So we’ll impersonate 2½ stars out of 4 for this raunchy but respectable road-trip romp, We’re the Millers, a recreational vehicle transporting a generous shipment of laughs.